More than two thirds of dentists are destined to become victims of embezzlement at some point in their career. According to David Harris, the founder of Prosperident, the world’s largest dental embezzlement firm that number might even be low!
“Those numbers are probably understated a little bit simply because some embezzlement goes on and is never detected and other embezzlement happens and nobody reports it,” says Harris.
“So my own number, which is of course unprovable, is that there’s probably an 80 percent chance that you’ll get hit at some point in your career.”
David’s vast investigative experience in this field has helped Prosperident grow to more than a dozen specialized investigators consulting on hundreds of embezzlement matters annually.
When we think about embezzlement the assumption is that it always involves some sort of cash. But according to Harris this type of theft can manifest itself in all sorts of ways.
“Typically we see staff stealing from their doctors. In most cases it’s money. But it could also be something like someone ordering hand pieces and they order an extra one to sell on eBay.”
Embezzlement is something that can happen to anyone. In fact it’s happened to me. Three times! Each time was not only emotionally disturbing, it also rattled my confidence.
Over his 25 years in the business Harris has seen just how this can happen – even to people who think they have the proper safeguards in place.
“You can’t underestimate the embezzler or assume that your superior education will give you some kind of upper hand in this battle,” he says.
“The second thing is there is absolutely nothing you can do that will prevent embezzlement. If I work for you and I get the idea that I am somehow more entitled to the money that your practice makes than you are, I’m going to get away with it – at least for a while.”
“If somebody steals from you once and gets caught, I view that as a success not a failure. Somebody who gets away with it for three years and gets $275,000, that’s a failure.”
So what can a dentist to make sure that thefts are caught quickly?
“One of the pieces of advice that I give doctors is that the only reports they look at the end of each day and at the end of each month be ones that they printed themselves. Otherwise you can’t be confident that the reports are 100% accurate.”
If you are concerned at all about your practice after reading this and you would like to contact David Harris directly or you would like to have his company help you minimize your risk exposure to embezzlement he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.